Beautiful Darling: The Life and Times of Candy Darling, Andy Warhol Superstar documents the short life of the transsexual actress whom Warhol’s POPism memoir described as “the most striking drag queen I’d ever seen”. Oscar-nominated actress Chloe Sevigny supplies the voice of the Superstar, who grew up on Long Island being entranced by silver screen legends like Kim Novak and Lana Turner. After moving to Manhattan, her role in Glamour, Glory and Gold, written by Jackie Curtis, served as the entryway into Warhol’s orbit. In addition to appearing in major underground films like Paul Morrissey’s Flesh (1968) and Women in Revolt (1971), Darling inspired the Velvet Underground song “Candy Says” and is mentioned in Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side”. After dying from cancer in 1974, her Upper East Side funeral drew the presence of icons like Julie Newmar and Gloria Swanson, a fitting tribute to a young actress whose dreams of Hollywood stardom were left unfulfilled.
The legacy of her gender-bending brand of blond ambition has been transmitted to newer generations of glam-pop performers. In 2005, Madonna herself was rumored to be playing Candy in a film project that never actually materialized. Candy has also been a key inspiration for Darian Darling, a make-up artist and New York nightlife persona who used her blog to offer “love, respect and fascination” to her Superstar namesake. In July 2010, Lady Gaga named Darian as one of her fellow “Golden Girls of Rocknroll,” alongside Justin Tranter of Semi Precious Weapons and her longtime collaborator, Lady Starlight. Gaga tweeted a photo of the quartet to her millions of fans. Another fitting caption for this picture might be the question posed by Candy during her memorable scene in the Warhol-produced Flesh: “Don’t you want to learn to be glamorous?”
Director James Rasin and producer Jeremiah Newton will be present at the documentary’s screenings at the Hamptons International Film Festival and the Chicago International Film Festival, both in early October.
// Notes from the Road
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